[CT Birds] Pine Warbler Song

twomirers at comcast.net twomirers at comcast.net
Wed Jun 11 17:04:08 EDT 2014

Thanks for all the responses. 
I heard the bird briefly this morning before I had to leave. It gave 6 standard songs and 1 of its variant songs with the pitch change. 
Roy-thanks for the suggestion; I did not go to the Macaulay collection because I know what a slog it would be to play all those entries. I could spend half a day listening and perhaps find a match. John did my homework for me by investigating the Zeno-Canto site. This is much more manageable because you can quickly pull up the sonogram for each recording and check it visually without having to listen to each recording. The drop in pitch is obvious on the sonogram. And yes, the one John calls out matches the song of the bird here. 
Arthur-no, I did not record. I’ve thought about springing for an entire recording outfit from Stith, but the full gear costs about 3K, so I have not jumped at it (and now that I’m retired, it is even less likely). 
Steve-perhaps listening to the entire Borer-Gunn recording actually builds brain cells? I guess one would glean something from it every time one plays it. We filter out what we are not ready to hear (or let it confuse us), and confirm or reinforce what we think we know. Combined with field experience, repeated playing will make one a better warblerer. (Maybe I should actually listen to it occasionally).
But here’s the important part: hearing this song leads to more questions. This bird has been here singing since April, and this is the first time I’m hearing this song variant. Did this individual hear such a song from one of its models while it was learning? And if so, why did it wait until now to utilize it? And what is its implication for sexual selection? Is such a variant likely to lead to greater or lesser mating success? At this date, renewed song suggests that this bird is ready to renest after being successful with its “standard” song the first time around. Why change if you’ve been successful attracting a mate with the original song? Or is it possible that this is a different bird, and that it has replaced the original bird that was here earlier because the female prefers its varied song? Or is this individual a singer/songwriter that has come up with a variation on its own that it has never heard before? Isn’t this how dialect in songbirds originates? If so, why are there so few examples cited in the literature and in the recordings in birdsong repositories? 

An osprey is back on the nest this season that is on the highest point (above the control booth) of the E Haddam swing bridge. There was no nesting in there last season; it was used 2 years ago. 

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